A well-placed source tells me MSNBC will announce today major changes to its afternoon lineup…arguably the most significant revamp the network has made at one time in its 19-year history.
Out: The Cycle at 3:00 PM. Now with Alex Wagner at 4:00 PM. The Ed Show with Ed Schultz at 5:00 PM (all times eastern).
In: Chuck Todd at 5:00 PM. Similar to Jake Tapper at CNN doing both weekday afternoons (hosting The Lead) and anchoring Sunday morning’s State of the Union, Todd will also continue to work weekends as moderator of Sunday’s Meet the Press. Todd’s MSNBC show will likely take on its old name The Daily Rundown, but that is not a guarantee.
More interesting: Andrea Mitchell will keep her program at noon (Andrea Mitchell Reports). Thomas Roberts will continue to anchor his midday news program from 1:00-3:00 PM. The programs being cancelled at 3:00 PM (The Cycle) and 4:00 PM (Now with Alex Wagner) will be replaced by a straight news program (similar to Roberts’ two-hour newscast preceding it). Whether that 3:00-5:00 PM slot goes to Brian Williams is not known at this time, but it would certainly make the most sense to put Williams directly up against Fox’s Shepard Smith (Shepard Smith Reporting) and CNN’s Brooke Baldwin (CNN Newsroom) for the first hour in a similar format.
Since coming on four months ago, relatively new NBC News Chief Andy Lack is obviously making his presence felt. Ratings are in the toilet…it somehow finished 5th in a four-horse race recently. Staffers and talent are walking on eggshells. And unless your last name is Matthews, Maddow or your first name Joe or Mika, nobody appears safe, as Mediaite’s Andrew Kirell reported exclusively earlier this week.
Once self-dubbed The Place for Politics, MSNBC goes back to its 1996 roots: More news, less talk.
The place for politics pertains only to mornings and prime-time now. Lack quickly realized that the lack of balance via almost all opinion programming and very little hard news offerings was killing the network as audiences ran to CNN and Fox in droves when any big breaking story was happening. The good news for fans of the network is the Lack’s actually doing something about it…all while tapping resources from the NBC Mothership to help make it happen without breaking the bank.
Fixing dayside was a no-brainer. 6:00 PM and 8:00 PM are likely next. Some old faces may be returning. MSNBC will soon look very different, courtesy of the biggest change in its lineup in nearly two decades.
And Andy Lack isn’t done shaking things up at 30 Rock…not by a long shot.
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